Italian top insurer Generali said he was ready to look around for growth opportunities in Europe, Asia and the US on Thursday and said it was well positioned to achieve the goals it had set in November for the years to 2021.
The European number 3 insurer has set aside up to 4 billion euros ($ 4.5 billion) for acquisitions and growth, because it aims to use asset management and other companies with higher margins as fuel.
"I confirm all the goals of the plan [including] an annual EPS [earnings per share] 6 to 8 percent growth target, "said Chief Executive Philippe Donnet in a media call.
Generali said earlier that it had increased its operating result by 3 percent last year and that it would pay a dividend of 0.90 euros per share, against 0.85 euros the previous year.
"We believe that Generali's new strategy is well underway and that the current dividend yield is still very attractive," said Banca Akros analyst Enrico Esposti after the results.
The shares in Generali increased by 1.1 percent, in line with the European insurance sector, by 1552 GMT [on March 14].
Donnet, who has been CEO since 2016, said that Generali will be chosen for selected insurance purchases in Europe and for asset management outside deals, especially in Great Britain, the United States and Asia.
And in the last three years, Generali has raised 1.5 billion euros from sales and left several non-strategic countries.
The insurer said last year's net profit rose 9.4 percent to 2.3 billion euros, in line with an analyst's consensus expectation of 2.38 billion euros, while operating profit was 4.86 billion, just above expectations of 4.82 billion.
($ 1 = 0.8836 euros) (Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro; editing by Stephen Jewkes, Mark Potter and Alexander Smith)
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